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Too Many Microsoft Patches in the Windows Road?

Microsoft Patch Odometer for Windows to roll over from 999,999

A wise engineer recently noticed that Microsoft is about to roll over their numbering system for patches. They’re closing in on 1 million patches, warnings, advisories and updates on its Windows Operating System.

Microsoft tracks everything about its products (from Windows to Office to the Net framework) on the Microsoft Knowledge Base. Articles in the “KB” are identified by their Knowledge Base ID number, something like KB222222. Many of them are bugs, patches and security updates.

Looking at the KB number, you notice that they are closing in on their 1,000,000th “KB” number. Recently my engineer friend received a security update under the name KB967715, which fixes a problem with disabling the AutoRun feature in Windows.

So if they are on KB967715, they have about 32,285 fixes, patches, answers to commonly asked questions, and updates to go.

This KB system replaced the old “Q” system. For illustration, Q128345 was about printing problems in Windows 95/98/ME. So if you are reading this on Windows Millennium Edition but can’t print it, now you know where to go for help. Try to Print from a Command Prompt and to Lpt1.dos/

Microsoft is aware of this rollover problem, and published an article about it at Note the number. It is 2,000,011. Their odometer has rolled over, from 999,999 to — not 1,000,000 as we mere mortals might think, but to 2,000,000 (and they don’t explain why.)